I have a problem regarding a home monochrome laser printer, but I figure this question can be generalized to any matrix printer.

Suppose I know my home printer's resolution, and I would like to have my image editing (in my case: GIMP) software do the job of resampling including the dithering.

The input is, say, an RGB image with no specific resolution (pixels per inch, ppi). When assuming 600 ppi, and given the example image's pixel dimensions, the resulting physical size is smaller than the intended output size, so I upsample and interpolate, still in RGB.

Then I change the image color mode (sample resolution) to 1 bit per pixel, the two colors of which I define to be black and white. I enable dithering, because I disklike my laser printer's built-in positional halftone simulation.

How can I make sure that the produced image is printed exactly dot for dot on my printer? Does it depend on my specific printer, or on the software used or even both?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It will be nearly impossible to get a match between your software's dithering and the midtones produced by your printer. That's the printer driver's job, and if it's not a photo printer then the driver is probably not up to the task either. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I supply to the driver a b/w image in the printer's native resolution, the driver will still downsample and interpolate it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Douba
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 6:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you've already tried that and found it unacceptable. I'm not sure I can offer any additional advice. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a printing question with no practical applicability to photography \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


It is possible to get laser printers to print exactly what you send them. This may be required by owners of Livescribe Smartpens, for instance, to print out more note paper. For black and white laser printers:

  • Send a 1 bpp (bit per pixel) black and white (not grayscale) image. If the source is a PDF, the image should be losslessly compressed (LZW or Zip).

  • The printer driver has to not automatically resize it. This is driver dependent, and if auto resize cannot be turned off, then what you want is impossible.

  • The printer has to not add special tracking codes to the printout.

All color laser printers add tracking codes to printouts, but aside from those, the procedure should be similar, as long as auto resize can be disabled. (Each color layer would have to be composed of pure 1-bpp colors at the printer's native resolution.)


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